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May 2023 Recap

Hey there, Sparkling! Goodness gracious it's been a while since I've done an update on what's happening. I know if you're on my newsletter you get bi-weekly updates, but for those of you who aren't (umm, why aren't you? go get a free novella!), let's do an update, shall we?

All The Promo

I've been slamming away at the keys, and not just for writing books (though I'll get to those).

Lots and lots of PR outreach with many different TikTokers/Instagrammers. It's been an exhausting but rewarding process. For any indie authors reading this right now, I did my finances wrap up and found that PR was smaller than my Advertising spent, but it yielded better results. So yes, it takes a lot of time to hunt through all the profiles and find the right people for your book, and learn about them, and reach out, and follow up, and fold book packages, and mail them (yikes, so much work), but in the end you make a REAL human connection with a person who, if they like your book, will support you from now to the end of time <3 It's so worth it.

I spent a lot of time researching new advertising avenues as well. I have to say, I used Written Word Media's "New In Books" promotion and it did not yield much at all...or potentially anything. And it was not cheap, my friends. I know there have been many people who like and herald WWM, and I'm not trying to be a contrarian, but the proof was not in the pudding for me.

I have a free book promo coming up for FPE1 (7/11-7/15) and applied for so many different services:

HelloBooks, which I discovered needs to be friday-sunday, argh but because my KU subscription renews that Saturday, it leaves me in a weird bind. If I get accepted for that one, I'll have to stay up until midnight on Saturday and start a promotion for the next day too >.<

Fussy Librarian, which was a pretty reasonable fee, and I even got a discount for a double book so I decided to do another one and run a free promo for book 2 a few weeks after launch. We'll see what that does!

Red Rose Romance, another very reasonable fee for a newsletter promo, we'll see what it yields come late July. Oh no...I just realized I didn't use a link to separate these promos out and I stacked the heck out of them >_> I won't be able to tell what did what. Heck. Well...I'll be smarter next time. LEARN FROM ME!

All the Writing

I've been working diligently on Fae Prison: Earth 3, but right in the middle of it my brain said "Here's a shiny new project and you can't say no or I will punish you." And the punishment was that I couldn't think about FPE3 plot anymore, at all.

So I took a 25 day "break" and wrote "Dark Rival" the first book in a new Fantasy Romance series with a Victorian era theme and lots of cool magic. The series is called Princesses of Ruin and it'll follow four sister princesses through their trials as heinous bullshit takes place throughout the kingdom.

Fortunately, once I got Dark Rival out of my head and onto the page, my brain said I could return to FPE3. That book is back on track to be draft 1 complete by early July and just hit the 50k word count mark. It's going to be another big boy, like FPE2.

The second book in the PoR series is mostly plotted in my head and I'm super excited for several of the scenes I get to write. I have a vivid, hallucinatory imagination, so I've seeen things maaaaan, and I'm stoked ^_^

Things to get excited about

Fae Prison: Earth - The Starlite Heist, just sent ARCs to my squad this morning! I'm so excited to be reading along with them and getting their feedback. There's still lots of time left before this book is published, so I have a unique opportunity to make adjustments here and there from reader feedback, and that makes me super stoked.

Books I read

Coralee June's Bloody Royals series: No Such Fling ⭐⭐⭐⭐, No Such King ⭐⭐⭐, No Such Queen ⭐⭐

I DNFed by book 2 (No Such Queen). I was invested but... there was non-con, the characters were having wildly inconsistent behaviors, my suspension of disbelief on several things was just dashed and... yeah I mean I've got a long-ass TBR. Don't got time for books that aren't bringing me joy.

Stacy Lynn's Tangled Love series: Entice ⭐⭐✨

I wish I wouldn't have finished this book. Ended on a cliff hanger and has a love triangle, two things I'm not super hot about. The 🌶 scenes had very little consideration of whose hand was where and how legs worked...yeah it was annoying and pulled me out of it. There was buttstuff and no one cleaned up afterwards. Big nope for me.

Julie K. Cohen's Zyanthan Warriors: Alien Wanted (#2) ⭐⭐⭐✨

This was fun and smutty. There was buttstuff again, but properly handled (mostly...) I took some issue with some of the plot points being forced, and instalove (another hate of mine), but it was a short, easy, smutty read and did what I needed it to do.

Rebecca Yarros' The Empyrean series: Fourth Wing ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

I don't have enough words here to talk about how much I liked this book. Yes, there were some problems, but the magic, the dragons, the world building, the etc made up for it. The FMC has a disability and works her ass off to overcome it, mad respect. The MMC is hot as hell and an alpha boss. The DRAGONS. The magic system was super cool and unique to every rider. It was vicious. People died on screen. A lot of people. Kinda enemies to lovers, but a little more like rivals with a bit of vendetta to lovers, forced proximity, mental connection, slow-ish burn, high fantasy, lots of action, academy.

Anyway, epic. Best read of the month. Loved it.

Rebecca F. Kenney's For the Love of the Villain series: The Sea Witch ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I was fully expecting tentacle smut with no plot and I GOT PLOT Y'ALL. Not just any plot, but decently good plot. And, the beats were on point. Kenney knows how to save the cat my dudes. This was a Little Mermaid retelling where the sea witch is actually a super hot grumpy loner who gets accidentally wooed by the Little Mermaid. Very fun. The actual villain of the story was a bit flat, their motivations super 👎👎 but all well, can't win them all.

There was buttstuff, AGAIN what is it, May = buttstuff month? I mean but with 8+ tentacles I knew there was going to be buttstuff. How could there not? Anyway, it was brief and tactful so I was fine. Other than that, the spice was really good.

The prose was really good, too. I mean, so often I read a small indie and go "Uugggh what is this?! Make sentences gooder!!" but that was not an issue with Kenney. She's one of my new favorite indies for sure! <3

Enemies to lovers, smutty AF, forbidden love, forced proximity, & fish out of water (literally lol).

One thing I do really want to call out was that the FMC's emotional journey was fucking huge and so well done. The MMC's was not as big, still good, but the FMC's was *chef's kiss*. Okay, done gushing about a fucking Little Mermaid retelling 😂😂😂 GO READ IT. Go read Fourth Wing, too.

That's it from me my dudes. I'll try to be better about a monthly recap so those of you who don't want to be on my mailing list can still know what's happening ^_^

~ Ember ~

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